Pictured; Victim, Damien Corrente
→ Damien Corrente was a 21-year-old premed student at Stonybrook University in Long Island who was
home in Freeport (Long Island, NY) for a Winter-break in December, 1999. He was spending his time hanging out with friend’s and family and was very close to his mother, Pam Corrente, who raised him good and he grew up to be a law-abiding citizen. Unfortunately, he had some friend’s who were in gangs and on January 14th, 1999, about 3-weeks into his Winter-break, Damien found himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Harold Zambrano was a friend of Damien, he was also a member of a local street gang who had been jumped by members of a rival gang known as “MS-13” less than 2-days earlier. Harold didn’t have a car and asked Damien, who was not involved in any gangs, to drive him around to find the men who had jumped him. At a local mall, Harold found one of the men he was looking for, 19-year-old German DeLeon, and Harold confronted him, but he said he didn’t want to be trouble because he was with his girlfriend. The truth is, he didn’t want to fight because he was alone and when two more members of MS-13 arrived, a deadly shootout commenced. Harold was shot in the neck and critically injured, and Damien was fatally shot five times in the head.
01/14/99 ↔ Pam Corrente was out spending the day running errands and taking Damien’s younger brother to a appointment. On the way home she passed by what looked like a car-accident; “I said to my son, ‘Look over there and see what’s going on.’ So he just looked over and said, ‘I don’t see anything, you can’t see anything, there’s just ambulances all over.’ So I passed it. I took him to the doctor’s office. We came back home.”
Shortly after Pam got home the phone rang and she answered, it was one of Damien’s friend’s calling for him: ”And I got a phone call from one of his friends, asking me, ‘Is Damian there?’ I said, ‘No he’s not, he was going to go out and see his friends. Aren’t you with him?’ The caller said, ‘No. Okay, never mind.’ And they hung up. And that was just, the whole thing was odd.”
This was the moment Pam started getting a bad feeling, possibly ”mothers instinct”, she frantically searched for Damien, calling up friends and family, none of who have spoken to him. After calling a few hospitals, she had found that Damien was at South Nassau Hospital in Long Island. She rushed there and found that her son had been involved in the accident she had seen earlier, but it was not a car-accident, like she first assumed, it was a gang-related shooting.
Damien was pronounced dead at 2:45p.m. Thursday, January 14th, 1999.
Suspects: Investigator’s soon identified the shooters as German DeLeon, along with two other members of MS-13, Juan Gil Ferrufino and Mario Portillo. By the time the culprits were identified, they were already on the run. Investigator’s traced them back to El Salvador but they may have possibly returned to the United States, hiding out in Miami, FL or ‘Los Angeles, CA.
Left; Ferrufino – Middle; Portillo – Right; DeLeon – Photo’s taken prior to January, 1999.
All three men have brown hair and brown eyes, and all three suspects are between the height of 5’6”-5’7”. They all have multiple tattoo’s on their chests and body.
The incident happened in a parking lot, around the corner from the police department. ‘The scene—so close to the seat of government—made me “realize how serious the problem is,” Said Pam.
Pam Corrente along with Freeport police, formed G.A.S.P.- the Gang Awareness Suppression Program- to bring gang awareness to public schools and provide alternative activities for kids. Since Pam founded G.A.S.P., not one person has died in Freeport from gang violence.
Passing out anti-gang pamphlets.
http://www.irvington.net/newsPrinter.asp?nid=175&printer=true – The link will explain more about ”Stop The Violence.” Funded by Pam Corrente and another parent of gang violence.
If you have any information regarding this cold case, please call Freeport Law Enforcement 516-377-2411 or contact your local police.